New Delhi: The arrest of Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia in the alleged liquor scam appears to have achieved what ideology or common cause against the BJP had not — unify the opposition ahead of next year’s general elections. Since yesterday, all key opposition parties have tweeted their rage and dismay, backing Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party.
The sole exception was the Congress, which yesterday evening, took a nuanced position, alleging misuse of Central investigative agencies but keeping silent on AAP.
The Congress’s Delhi unit has been at loggerheads with AAP since the Anti-Corruption Movement by Anna Hazare unseated it after three terms in power. Its leaders have supported the arrest of Mr Sisodia and even declared that Arvind Kejriwal should be the next in line.
But yesterday evening, Congress’s media in-charge Jairam Ramesh posted a tweet that placed it firmly at the side of the opposition, though not behind AAP.
.@INCIndia has always held the belief that institutions like ED, CBI & Income Tax Dept have become instruments of political vendetta & harassment under Modi Sarkar. These institutions have lost all professionalism. Oppn leaders are selectively targeted to destroy their reputation— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) February 27, 2023
Since the BJP-led government came to power, the opposition has been accusing it of targeting them through Central agencies. Prominent opposition leaders across the board have been searched, named in corruption cases and arrested.
Now the arrest of Mr Sisodia — the face of AAP’s overhaul of Delhi schools — appears to have tapped into opposition grouse, leading to an outcry.
“If @msisodia had got himself a BJP brand of washing machine, he would never been arrested. Bravo, Manish… Allies… have all abandoned BJP. Only CBI, ED, IT remain true allies,” tweeted Trinamool’s Derek O’Brien.
If @msisodia had got himself a #BJP brand of washing machine, he would never been arrested. Bravo, Manish— Derek O'Brien | ডেরেক ও'ব্রায়েন (@derekobrienmp) February 26, 2023
Allies ShivSena, SADal, JD(U) TDP & others have all abandoned BJP.
Only CBI, ED, IT remain true allies.
Targeting Opposition leaders is the DESPERATE DUO’S favorite job
"By arresting Manish Sisodia ji, who brought revolutionary changes in the field of education in Delhi, BJP has proved that it is not only against education but also against the future of the children of Delhi," said Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav.
Sanjay Raut, senior leader of the Thackeray faction of Shiv Sena, one of the opposition leaders in jail till late, chose to look at the big picture. “The way BJP is arresting Opposition Leaders, I dread, what will happen to BJP leaders in future when they will be out of power,” he tweeted.
The way BJP is arresting Opposition Leaders, I dread, what will happen to BJP leaders in future when they will be out of power. What if they are similarly persecuted/arrested? Who will come to their help? @ArvindKejriwal @OfficeofUT #ManishSisodiaArrested pic.twitter.com/PgSB7xN3W1— Sanjay Raut (@rautsanjay61) February 26, 2023
The CPM issued a statement that said Mr Sisodia’s arrest is “part of the Modi Government project to weaponise central investigative agencies to target opposition party leaders”.
“In almost every state where the government is run by an opposition party, cases are filed against leaders, arrests are made so as to destabilise the governments being run by opposition parties. Having failed to win elections by democratic means the Modi regime is using central agencies to undermine democracy in India targeting the opposition,” the CPM said.